As discussed a few weeks ago during the #SportForBusinessSocialMedia webinar, in what is a difficult time for businesses and organisations across every sector, the Irish sporting community continues to impress, finding new and innovative ways to engage with fans throughout the COVID-19 era.
In April 2020, the 29 organisations analysed as part of the monthly Sport for Business / Olytico analysis, all members of Sport for Business, still published over 6,000 social media posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This was a decrease of 7% on March but a stout performance given the complete blank calendar there was in April.
Though the makeup of the panel of sporting organisations has changed over the past year, it is still reflective of the growth in importance of social media that 12 months ago the total number of posts across 25 organisations was 5,861 and the total number of engagements was 800,000.
This year’s 6,022 posts analysed generated over 1 million engagements in the form of likes, shares, comments, and retweets.
Instagram continues to be the main driver of engagement in 2020 with over 700,000 likes and comments generated, representing 67% of the total engagement across all three platforms.
That said, April saw Instagram’s share of engagement fall slightly with Facebook and Twitter up 2% each to 20% and 13% respectively.
With no live action to cover, it’s perhaps no surprise the biggest sports news in Ireland in April was the FAI’s announcement that Stephen Kenny would be taking over from Mick McCarthy with immediate effect. This news topped the engagement charts across all three platforms, capping an impressive month on social media for Gareth Maher, who joined us for the webinar, and his team in the FAI.
In the infographics below, we have ranked each of the organisations across a range of metrics on each network, including the most active, the most engaged, and the most engaging content.
It’s important to note that this analysis is based on publicly available data. It doesn’t include any analysis or insight on paid or promoted content.
April 2020 Highlights on Twitter
There was no change at the top of the Most Active rankings on Twitter in April, with the GAA holding off strong challenges from Ulster Rugby and Cricket Ireland for the top spot.
The FAI reclaimed the top spot in the engagement rankings from the IRFU, with the four provinces closely behind. The FAI’s average engagement per post throughout April rose from 163 to 266 (an increase of 63%) with their Stephen Kenny announcement tweet on the 4th April generating over 4,000 public engagements.
For context, although the volume of overall Tweets was down 7% month on month, there were a number of member organisations that considerably increased their output. These included Badminton Ireland and Ulster Rugby, who both increased their output by over 100%.
Special Olympics Ireland have been tackling the lockdown with their #togetherathome campaign which saw their activity on Twitter increase by 108%.
April 2020 Highlights on Facebook
As they did on Twitter, and for the second month in a row, the GAA maintained their position as the most active sporting organisation in Ireland on Facebook.
Ladies Gaelic Football rose from sixth to second in the charts with 174 posts, and Basketball Ireland remained in third with 146 posts.
Whilst their number of overall posts fell slightly, the GAA’s #GAAGloryDays content continued to drive engagement.
The GAANOW Rewind posts featuring Armagh from 1999 and 2002 proved to be their most popular with over 86,000 views and 1,700 public engagements.
The FAI once again had the single most engaged with piece of content, their post thanking Mick McCarthy and announcing Stephen Kenny as his replacement had over 4,500 likes, 750+ comments and was shared nearly 700 times by fans.
Facebook continues to be a popular channel for rugby fans with Ulster Rugby at the top of the overall engagements chart, with over 32,000 total engagements.
Their mix of archive highlights and partnership content proved to be a real hit with supporters. Unsurprisingly, their post celebrating the life of Nevin Spence on what would have been his 30th birthday was their most engaged with content, with fans paying respect to Nevin, his father and brother.
April 2020 Highlights on Instagram
For the third month in a row, Athletics Ireland were the most active account on Instagram, publishing 78 posts. Their most engaged with post was the cancellation announcement of the 2020 ISAA Track & Field Season. Aside from this announcement their most popular content in April was a post celebrating the achievements of 3-time Olympian Derval O’Rourke.
Cricket Ireland and Badminton Ireland both increased their Instagram output significantly. Cricket Ireland content was up 160%, focusing on their #DIYCricketSeries videos. Their most popular content for April re-lived the memorable morning session of the Lord’s Test Match against England with the highlights being viewed over 50,000 times.
Badminton Ireland’s activity focused on their ‘Women in Sport’ webinar featuring Nora Stapleton, Sarah Boyle, Chloe Magee and Rachael Darragh. Their 35 posts represented a 300% increase in posts published month on month. Their most engaged with post featured Rachael Darragh, with highlights of her performance in the Yonex Belgian Championships.
Rugby content continues to prove popular, with Leinster, Munster and the IRFU top of the overall engagements table. Special mention must go to Leinster with close to 18,000 engagements, driven in no small part by their #ShaveGrowOrMo campaign, raising funds for @feedtheheroesire, @downsyndromecentre and @multiple_sclerosis_ireland.
It was a clean sweep for the FAI in the engagement stakes. Whilst their overall quantity of content decreased from March, the Stephen Kenny announcement was the most engaged with Instagram post in Irish Sport for April generating close to 11,000 public engagements.
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